Skip to Content

Pioneering brain surgery using equipment from space station saves El Paso boy’s life

Dr. David Jimenez conducts pediatric brain surgery using the Modus-V.

EL PASO, Texas --  The Modus-V is now in the hands of a pediatric neurosurgeon that has pioneered ways to safely operate on children from only months old to teenagers.

World-renowned Dr. David Jimenez is piloting this piece of equipment that has been used in the International Space Station.

Pediatric surgery leaders at El Paso's Children's Hospital designed a system that cut down the time a normal craniosynostosis procedure takes - from six hours to as little as 45 minutes - and reduced the necessity of removing a babies scalp down to just two small incisions.

The Modus-V will make brain procedures a little bit easier for surgeons in a sense, by turning on the lights.

The equipment uses satellite GPS and uploaded brain MRI nerve tracks that aid in illuminating the surgerons path to the mass.

"We can use special glasses that see in three dimension inside and it can zoom into a level we could not see before," Dr. Jimenez shared.

ABC-7 was in the operating room when the Modus-V was put in action.

A 13-year-old El Paso boy told his mom that he was having trouble in one of his eyes. He complained of double vision so his mother took him to the eye doctor.

When the glasses didn't help, an MRI revealed what all parents dread to hear.

There was a mass in Nancy Dorado's son's brain.

"Oh my God, my heart just dropped," Dorado told ABC-7.

"He has a tumor or a mass that is growing in a very critical part of his brain. Very deep inside, it's dark and very difficult to get to," she said.

After consultations, Dr. Jimenez was chosen for the surgery that would save her son's life.

Dorado found out later that the new piece of equipment El Paso's Children's Hospital just acquired would aid in her son's surgery.

Dr. Jimenez told ABC-7 that the Modus-V is like turning on a light inside a dark cave.

The doctor said after the procedure was finished, Andress, the young man being operated on, was recovering after a successful operation.

Article Topic Follows: Health

Wil Herren

Wil Herren is an ABC-7 reporter who covers both news and sports.


KVIA ABC 7 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content